CEATEC 2007

CEATEC (See-Tech) is a yearly trade show in Tokyo, Japan. For the most part it is either a preview of what the Japanese manufacturers are going to show at CES, or what they’re hoping to come out with in the near future. Then there’s the rest of the massive building that has parts like LEDs, IR transmitters, and all the bits that are in the products you buy.

Last year I got to see the plasma that would eventually become Pioneer’s KURO. This year there was no such amazingness, but there was still a lot that was very cool. Clicky clicky for all the pics and info.

The big news at the Sony booth was the production version of the first “big screen” OLED. By big I mean small, as in 11-inches. It’s also $1,700 and not available here. So it goes. But it is cool looking and will no doubt lead to products that we will see here.

These are flasks of the OLED material. When you run a current through them…

They glow! I know, that’s what they’re supposed to do, but I thought it was cool. Admittedly, this could be a trick to demo the goo, but am I wrong, is that not cool?

Hitachi showed off a prototype of an ultra-thin LCD. It’s 32-inches diagonal, but only 0.75-inches thick. Way cool design. What was perhaps more impressive was a plasma-like viewing angle. IPS anyone?

Sharp had a similar waif-like LCD, but it was billed as an “in-wall” model.

They also had 26 and 22-inch 1080p panels. I guess if you sit 1-foot from your TV, these would rule.

Ever wondered what LCD motherglass looks like? There ya go. With a fire extinguisher for size comparison (how convenient).

Lastly, there was a 64-inch panel with 4,000 by 2,000 resolution. It was inexplicably showing animation most of the time, so the resolution benefit was lost. Also, there seemed to be an image retention problem (on a plasma, you’d call this burn in). Don’t worry, we’re not likely to see this as a consumer product anytime soon.

JVC showed off this. Interesting, if a little bit overkill.

Panasonic teased with some Blu-ray burners, with built in hard drives. They assured that we’ll probably see standalone BD-R here… someday. Apparently getting the cost down is a sticking point.

Panasonic’s big thing is going as green as possible not only in the products themselves, but in the manufacturing as well. They recycle a lot in their home market, and use the recycled bits either in their own products or sell them. They claim this is a profitable business for them, but by how much they won’t say. It would be nice to see some of that over here. I mean we’ll fill up Nevada at some point, right?

I also got to tour Panasonic’s latest plasma manufacturing plant. When this plant, Amagasaki 4, is fully operational (sometime next year), it will be able to produce 500,000 42-inch panels per month. They’re already starting to work on Amagasaki 5, which alone will produce over 1,000,000 42-inch panels per month when it’s going full steam sometime in early 2009. This will bring the total number of panels Panasonic can make to almost 2,000,000 per month. Still think plasma is a dieing market?

This is a terrible picture, I know.

This one is… not much better.

I wish I could show you pictures of the inside of this high-tech plant, but as you can imagine, that is a no-no. What impressed me is how few people there were. Here is this huge plant, and it’s run by about 50 people. It’s all about robots. They even have some robots that navigate the facility using lasers. I didn’t enquire if they have a contingency plan for when the robots rise up. You can see a few pictures here. The square yellowish box in the middle of the page is one of the auto-navigating robots.

They’re everywhere!!!!!!!

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COMMENTS
Jeremy's picture

That OLED demo is crazy! Speaking of Sony, have you been able to spend any time checking out the new 120hz SXRD sets yet? I'm sure your all quite busy but I haven't seen a single review for any of Sony's A3000 series sets anywhere and was wondering if you were going to be doing a rear projection shoot-out sometime in the next few months?

Geoffrey Morrison's picture

There will be a review of it in a face off in the Feb issue.

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There will be a review of it in a face off in the Feb issue.

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